There are analogies for life within the art of Wing Tsun kung-fu. One such analogy is the idea of forward energy.

Martial arts analogies exist in other arts but Wing Tsun seems to have many, perhaps because of its concepts. To prevail in an encounter with an opponent, it can be necessary to maintain forward energy and forward direction. To stand still can be deadly to you. Forward energy and forward movement forces an attacker to spend time and attention to deal with you. In addition, it is far more difficult to stop, block or deflect an oncoming counterattack than one that stands still. A moving target is difficult. One that is coming right at you is worse.

In Wing Tsun’s sticky hands drill known as “chi sau,” we are told by our instructors to maintain forward pressure. I think the word pressure is too strong a word and can imply a hard (rigid) forward action or even pushing. This description can lead to a hard pressure which is not nearly as quick or responsive as lighter energies. Therefore, I prefer the words ‘forward energy.’ The action is light. It is just light enough to ‘stick’ to an attacker’s arms but not too light to lose touch. When the way is free, we spring forward. The constant forward energy can be used in life. If you agree that it is important to let your life move forward, a forward analogy makes sense. We all like progress and to have forward energy in one’s life would be important. With forward energy, you can leave the bad times behind and savor the good times as favored memories. To stand still can lead to stagnation.

Learning more, improving more, having more positive experiences, becoming a better person can only happen if we have forward energy.

-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg